Commute Rail JPA Gets Underway with January 17, 2018 Inaugural Meeting

By Bryan Harrison - posted January 19, 2018

Livemore, CA - The newly-formed Joint Powers Authority, Tri-Valley - San Joaquin Regional Rail Authority - held it’s inaugural planning meeting Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at the Robert Livermore Community Center. Tasked with a mandate as designated by California AB758 to “take immediate steps to advance a Work Program concept that will expedite the development of cost-effective and responsive transit connectivity between the BART system and ACE rail Service in the Tri-Valley region,” the planning committee showed great enthusiasm for getting the work underway.

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The board, made-up of representative leaders from the directly affected communities of Alameda and San Joaquin Counties, as well as neighboring Contra Costa County, are working to not just meet their mandated 18 month planning goal but, as elected Chair of the committee, Alameda County Supervisor, Scott Haggerty stated, to be “ready to turn dirt” by mid-next year.

Specifically, The Board consists of one representative from each of the following entities: City of Dublin; City of Lathrop; City of Livermore; Town of Danville; City of San Ramon; City of Manteca; City of Pleasanton; City of Stockton; City of Tracy; Mountain House Community Services District; County of Alameda; County of San Joaquin; Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA); BART; and San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission. Mountain House CSD is represented by Board Director Bernice King-Tingle.

Despite a lengthy agenda for this first meeting, including adoption of bylaws, electing leaders, and adopting a working budget, among other things, the board demonstrated a clear drive to get this program moving forward with great efficiency.

On-hand were the state legislative leaders who made the new law reality: Assembly Members Catharine Baker, 16th District, and Susan Talamantes Eggman, 13th District, who each spoke eloquently about the immediate need for this project.

The bipartisan duo were irrepressible in gaining passage of their bill, which passed in the state Assembly in a now-famous 2am vote last September, before being signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown this past October.

The new law “establishes the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority to plan, develop, and deliver cost-effective and responsive transit connectivity between BART and ACE. The Authority will be required to produce a feasibility report by July 1, 2019 that, among other things, requires the Authority to make recommendations for expediting the development of cost-effective and responsive transit connectivity, propose a funding plan for achieving transit connectivity, propose a schedule for completion of transit connectivity, and a preliminary design for the project or projects to complete transit connectivity.” The design plan at the forefront would build an independent rail system that will run initially from West Tracy to BART, and ultimately expand to Lathrop and up to Stockton, as outlined on the attached map.

Driven on the grassroots level by Haggerty, on the Alameda County side, and Tracy Mayor Pro Tem, Veronica Vargas, on the San Joaquin side, the duo headed up The Altamont Regional Rail Working Group that laid the groundwork for the Megaregion Project. Haggerty was elected JPA Chair, and Vargas was elected Vice Chair of the new Board of Directors.

The new JPA set their budget at $1.57 million, the lion’s share of which is nearly $1.3 million for the necessary “Feasibility Report/project Level EIR (Environmental Impact Report).

The group also elected as their Executive Director and Secretary, Mr. Michael Tree, of LAVTA, and approved a contract with experienced planner consultant, Ms. Marianne Payne.

The Tri-Valley - San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority (TSJVRRA) established monthly meeting dates as the second Wednesday of each month at least through 2018, alternating meeting location from Alameda and San Joaquin counties (see chart JPA-1 for specific dates and locations).

The next meeting will be held Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the Tracy Transit Building: 50 East 6th Street, Tracy, CA.

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